If you’ve always wanted to fly around the world in a rocket, here’s your chance. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, recently announced his plans to allow people to fly in reusable rockets just like the kind that astronauts take to space.
That means instead of getting on a commercial airplane to travel around the world, you could be boarding a rocket. It’s his most ambitious aviation project yet, and it could revolutionise global travel.
Eyes on the Skies
Musk has long had plans to colonise Mars, and the rocket announcement was made while he was discussing his bigger plans. Known as the Big F***ing Rocket, or BFR, the rocket would allow everyday users to fly around the world and then come back to earth, making travel much faster than the fastest airplane.
An introductory video showed people boarding a boat that took them to a large barge that held the rocket. After getting on the rocket, the passengers were shot into space to fly around the world at incredibly high speeds. The rockets would be the same that Musk would use for other space missions, with the creator noting that investing the time and resources to make a successful robot is best used when the rocket can be used in a number of situations.
“If you build a ship that’s capable of going to Mars, what if you take that same ship and go to another place on earth, so we looked at that and the results are quite interesting,” Musk said.
Just How Fast?
According to Musk, the rocket will be able to get to most places around the world within 30 minutes and everywhere in less than an hour. To get from London to New York would take 29 minutes, and it would take 39 minutes to travel from New York to Shanghai. The BFR would be able to reach a maximum speed of 27,000 km per hour, but most of the flights would travel at around 11,000 km per hour.
Musk also revealed that the cost would be roughly the same as an economy flight on a passenger jet. That means that instead of spending hours on a trans-continental flight, passengers could potentially spend the same amount of money to be at their destination in less than an hour. Much of the cost is lowered by using reusable rockets that can only travel between launchpads in certain big cities around the world.
In an improvement over Musk’s older rockets, the BFR would have multiple engines, increasing the speed and safety. Musk also said that the engine’s propulsion system would be the highest thrusting engine ever made.
Plans into Action
So when can we start booking flights in the rocket? Musk hasn’t announced details for the rocket or when flights might be available, but he did say he plans to start building the first spaceship by the middle of 2018. Early reports suggest that the rocket will be able to carry around 100 people and will feature 40 cabins, common areas, and an entertainment system.
His company SpaceX is currently working on other ground-breaking space technology, including the rocket that will potentially take people to colonise Mars starting in 2024. Musk’s long-term plans include building up the population on Mars to around one million people.
SpaceX’s current lineup of rockets is being used for other space missions, such as trips to the International Space Station. If all works out with the BFR, it could replace the current fleet completely.
Elon Musk has already changed much of how we travel, from self-driving electric cars to private space journeys. If his current vision of transcontinental rocket travel takes off, we could soon be zooming around the world at top speeds.